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Chess Pwn: Ah, thank you. That does make it pretty obvious.

Kinda shows the convolutions required in the system, though...

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I'd have to see some _very_ detailed math regarding the OP before I believe that this is optimal. I'm pretty sure that Giant Totem barbarian is a complete trap, so it's a bit odd to see it in an optimal DPR build.

My simulation models show that -1 to hit is certainly not worth the damage increase of even Giant Totem. I haven't updated those in a while, though.

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Even 5Ed does a better job with spell slots than PF2E, though. And 4E proves that D&D is not necessarily wedded to Vancian casting.

I agree with the OP, though, that this is a big miss of the system.

The really interesting wrinkle (you can't really call it a major innovation) of 5Ed casting is the heightening system.

So when I heard that PF2E had a 3-action system, and that the spellcasting system interacted with it--Heal being a prominent example--I looked forward to a nicely-articulated system.

I don't think you need to imagine my disappointment when I discovered that Heal and Magic Missile, IIRC, are the ONLY spells to really interact with the system.

I fully expected a LOT more of their system than what was delivered. Low-power options at one action would fill a much-needed gap in the action economy... what does the discerning spellcaster do with their 3rd action? Moving (oh, sorry, Striding) is a definite option. Other than that?

One of the players in my (aborted due to player disinterest) playtest was an Animal Druid, so you'd think that he'd be 'cast spell, sic pet' by default. But no... he saw himself mainly as 'sic pet, move... wait, cannot cast a spell now'... he was constantly frustrated by the number of actions. While I sympathized, I also noted that this breeds tactics.

If he'd had a 1-action spell--single only targeting of Electric Arc maybe?--he'd've had a lot more fun.

Edit: Oh, and there could easily be an Activity for creating spell slots. 3-action Activity, create a spell slot of at least 1st and not your highest level, is probably perfectly balanced. The only issue is that it can only work with spontaneous or 5Ed casting. Full Vancian casting balks at it.

But that's an argument against full Vancian casting, not against having your spellcasters being spellcasters all day.

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Dasrak: I know MY original response to Powers were, '... that's it? Why do I care?'

I mean, I think the entire PF2E system is just... unworkable on so many levels--mainly due to competition just being better--but I have to say that this issue is a minor one, as 'limited uses of something I would never use anyway doesn't really matter.'

If these powers are meant to define the class, or at least the build, and you're going to LIMIT them by Focus... why are they so weak? Or, put conversely, if these are meant to be class-defining, why are they limited? 'Doing level-appropriate damage maybe 5 times a day with your build-defining schtick' is certainly not enticing.

So let yourself do it... all the time. Just make it better with this newly-created-but-oddly-weirdly-used point system. Like you do with all other uses of this new point system.

Frankly, I don't understand why they don't extend 'use Focus to buff abilities' to the Powers.

Instead of spending Focus to cast Zap, why not just use Focus--when you want--to improve Zap?

It would aid comprehension of the mechanic--Focus is expended to buff stuff, ONLY--and it would provide thematic 'at will' powers that would have few-times-per-day STUFF added.

I mean, I can think of other RPGs that used this extensively, and it worked there.

So, basically, something like

d10 damage, 30' (or 60' maybe) range, improves like a magic weapon--or improves with a weapon-like item--and you can spend a focus for:
--double damage
--stun for a round
--double range

or something like that.

Do that for all powers and they might actually have a purpose.

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dnoisette: Sure, I understand that they're humans. And I appreciate their attempt at gathering data.

But someone needs to tell them that their survey data isn't telling them what they think it's telling them. It _can't_.

Or, at the very least, anyone who filled out the same survey I did likely did not provide unbiased data to the devs. And the devs don't realize this.

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Dark Sephiroth: I'm not sure if I popularized the 'coinflip' metaphor for PF2E, but I've seen it a lot.

And I don't even mean it ironically. It just seems a shame that they've apparently created a d2 system even if they didn't realize it. It's even better modeled, IMO, by a 2d4 system as I've stated elsewhere, but yeah...

Snickersnax: Yeah, I know. Every DC and roll has to have a party member on one side of it, or the game makes very little sense.

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dnoisette: Possibly. Again, I'm not imputing any nefarious intent on the devs. I understand that they're just trying to get data, and I applaud them for it.

Given the very poor structure of the survey, I'm just worried that they're going to analyze it as well as they designed it, which could be objectively bad for their product.

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Getting rid of the +1/level is at least part of the answer, though.

The truth in the hill giant vs. bobcat example is that they're different levels. The hill giant ISN'T as quiet as a bobcat... for adventurers of the 'appropriate level'.

What the devs have gained in PvM is that it is straightforward to create challenges for a party. What they have lost is any sort of comparative power between challenges of different levels.

Essentially, the devs have created a VERY party-centric ruleset. If you look at almost any of the rules without putting the party into the middle of it, it looks very weird.

The way you have to read the relative hill giant and bobcat stats is, "Is the hill giant better at X vs. an appropriate-level party than a bobcat is vs. its appropriate-level party?'

Naturally, given the title of the thread, this _completely_ breaks down once the party is no longer involved, such as 'can a townsperson notice X'? The PF2E rules straight-up can't answer that.

It's an interesting approach to the rules, and while I don't think it's going to work out for them, the approach has its merits.

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There's also the fact that there will _always_ be traps in a ruleset such as this.

MTG again shows this very clearly. Now, the implications are different, but there are always different power levels among things in all but the most balanced systems--which generally are not much fun.

How do you deal with power creep in a rules system? Particularly when you have an economically-centered reason for power creep?

By this let's say that Paizo releases a book for PF2E after the Core book. If the rules/options/feats/whatever in that book are not more powerful, or at least more interesting--keeping in mind that 'more interesting' correlates fairly well with 'more powerful--why would people pick it up?

But let's ignore that for now. Let's assume that it's possible to put out more stuff without unbalancing the current game balance. The devs certainly seem to believe this is true, at any rate.

You're still going to get to the situation where 'if you want to do X, you choose Y'. And, at the end of the day, the _characters_ generated with this approach will get farther and farther apart on the power scale. Even if the feats/rules/whatever themselves are equally balanced.

Again, at the end of the day, the only way to avoid traps is to avoid options. And I don't think PF2E wants to do that. They are attempting to thread a very very specific course, and there are people--like myself--who believe that they have already failed, at least at the core priority of making something that people want to buy.

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Balance is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The devs do not agree with that statement, apparently, if you go by their design goals.

As someone who loved 4E when it was out, I can get behind a very balanced game system. As long as it's fun to play. I doubt that most of the player base of PF would agree with that--I understand that reaction against 4E made the PF playerbase what it is--but the Playtest so far seems to have some of the balance but none of the fun of 4E.

I would like to bring up three points regarding balance, two of them gaming and one not, for the devs' perusal.

The first is how to achieve ongoing balance in a constantly-evolving game, and my example is Magic: the Gathering. As the oldest, and most successful, CCG on the market, MTG has had to learn how to deal with balance changes over time. One of the most important lessons is almost 2nd Law levels of 'cannot be overcome', and it is

As the number of interactions increases, the overall power level in a ruleset increases.

Now, how does MTG handle this? Well, it has different formats, and in the one where balance is most important to them (Standard), the interactions (i.e., the cards allowed in the format) reset over time. That means that every design decision has a lifetime, and bad decisions can 'go away' by simple time.

I am not suggesting that Paizo adopt this approach to PF2E. I am simply pointing out that balance, as desirable as it may be, will fall apart over time. Given that Paizo generally has an aggressive printing schedule, balance will deteriorate faster and faster.

There are ways to combat the power creep besides using a rotating-rule format. One is to codify roles, and MTG does this (i.e., the color pie). PF2E, with few exceptions, does not. There is a clear healer role, and the Cleric fills it. (IMO, only the Cleric does, but that is another discussion.)

Regardless, I think everyone needs to realize that however good a balance the devs accomplish, it's going to deteriorate over time.

Now, my second example is with competing design theories, and their effects on the game they are creating. This example will be the design philosophies of Diablo III and Path of Exile.

Both of these games are 'action adventure' hack'n'slash games that compete in the same market. Their approach to balance between characters really could not be more different.

Diablo III has a highly-curated (through Item Sets) design philosophy where the goal is to have relatively few options so that the options can be better balanced. At least, that is the apparent goal. The downside of the design philosophy is that there are few options, and this is in a genre where 'getting better loot' as a primary means of 'powering up your character' was enshrined by Diablo III's own predecessor, Diablo II.

Path of Exile (PoE), by contrast, has a very open-ended system that has a much lower floor for character design but a much higher ceiling. It is very possible, even probable, to make an outright terrible/infeasible character in PoE. However, the tradeoff for having that possibility is that there are so many more _viable_ options that it isn't really a question if there IS a viable build for a specific concept, but how much it's going to 'cost you'.

In my mind, PF1E worked very much like Path of Exile (PoE) in many ways, with PF2E much more like D3. Whether or not this is preferred or makes sense for their market, it is hard to tell. Undeniably, though, it will be jarring.

This comparison is a bit marred because PF, like almost all TTRPGs, is group-based rather than individual-based. However, the difference in design philosophies is quite noted.

The third example I wanted to point out was something of a philosophical one. Generally speaking, in the US, almost everyone agrees with the statement that everyone deserves equal opportunity to succeed in life. (Part of that whole 'pursuit of happiness' thing.) However, something that commonly leads to sharp differences is whether everyone deserves equal outcomes.

This issue of 'equality of opportunity' vs. 'equality of outcome' is starting to come into sharp focus with PF2E. It does seem with how bounded everything is in PF2E, that the developers want to ensure a certain equality of outcome in character endeavors. This is done apparently in a desire for balance, with a notably similar refrain from the philosophical point above.

This is subject to the same criticism as the philosophical point, though. If there is a very tight equality of outcome at work here, what is the incentive to specialize and 'make a niche' for themselves?

These are all questions that I would hope the devs have ready answers for--not that I am asking for those answers--because if the devs do not have answers, no matter the short-term prospects of PF2E, the long-term prospects are not very sanguine.

Vic: It could be either. I like the former more than the latter, though. Will should change to something like 'Determination', though. Essentially, you would change 'Fort' and 'Will' to something more like 'one-time massive shock to your system' (which would be resisted by sheer counterforce) and 'long-term debilitation' (which would be more of an endurance match).

Snickersnax: That has nothing to do with the speed of their thought, but _what_ they are thinking about. Smart people tend to have the trait, or are otherwise defined by, their ability to rapidly work through things.

Now, I can easily see where 'smart people' are too busy thinking about things that are not immediate that they miss obvious things in front of them. That, however, is a matter of training/proficiency, not raw talent.

*shrug* One problem is that D&D and similar attribute systems have problems pulling apart 'quick thinking' and 'deep thinking'. If you tend to put 'quick thinking' in Wisdom and 'deep thinking' in Intelligence, then clearly you would not agree with my schema. OTOH, it is not clear which should go where. In ST systems--I am most familiar with Exalted--these are clearly delineated with Intelligence (deep) and Wits (quick). And, in that system, Initiative is a combination of Wits and Awareness.

Thanks, Vic.

I am very aware of 4E Defenses, and is in fact what crystallized my view of things. I think my view is superior to 4E because it would give you a physical or mental attribute for each Defense.

Int as the modifier for Initiative makes quite a lot of sense from an immersion perspective. The main issue is that it makes Wizards into the default 'go first' people, and historically letting the guy who can 'deal with' entire encounters also be the guy who goes first...

of course, this wouldn't happen in PF2E because magic is outright terrible, but there you go.

I like the idea, in theory.

The problem is that people do not get the same amount of reactions.

As for people thinking it 'doesn't make sense', Int (to me) has always been about mental agility/dexterity. (I have a very strong Str -> Cha, Dex -> Int, Con -> Wis physical-to-mental mapping.)

But yes, it would make Fighters very sticky. Which isn't bad, as far as it goes, but it makes them far stickier _than the other tanky classes_.

I dunno if it goes too far, though. It would be interesting to playtest.

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Jason Bulmhan wrote:
1. Create a new edition of Pathfinder that's much simpler to learn and play—a core system that's easy to grasp but expandable—while remaining true to the spirit of what makes Pathfinder great: customization, flexibility of story, and rules that reward those who take the time to master them.

As someone who has played a lot of different systems, I would give this a completely failing grade. I would also ask for clarifications:

Simpler to learn and play.. than what? PF1E? That's, uh, not much of a high bar, there. I feel that the designers have tunnel vision in that they're comparing the 2E to 1E... when, increasingly, people are not choosing between them. They're going to be choosing between 2E, D&D 5Ed, maybe PF1E, or completely other systems. This will come up again.

There is a reason I bring this up. If your first design goal is to make your game simpler than 1E, this implicitly means that this design goal is targeted to _current players of 1E_. Which is interesting.

Anyway, to continue. This game _might_ be easier than PF1E, though I doubt it, but it certainly is not easier to learn or play than D&D 5Ed, which I believe is your strongest competition. More to the point, and the reason you're failing this design goal, is that your system does not reward mastery. Like, at all. Your 4-degrees-of-success sounds a LOT snazzier than it is, because by the way your system is designed, it's just a lot cuter and 'markety' way of saying that you sometimes crit on a 19.

Also, customization does not really exist in your system. The illusion of choice is very real and omnipresent in PF2E.

2. Ensure that the new version of the game allows us to tell the same stories and share in the same worlds as the previous edition, but also makes room for new stories and new worlds wherever possible.

Can I tell the same stories? Maaaaybe. If that story doesn't rely on 1E-power magic, probably. If it did? No, not really.

I also quibble with this goal. To quote Jurassic Park (movie): "[You] were too busy seeing if you could do something to stop and ask whether you _should_." (emphasis in original) CAN I tell the same kind of stories in PF2E? Maybe. Would I WANT to tell the same kinds of stories as in PF1E? No. No way at all.

So overall, if I gave this an American-education-system grade, it would be a D, maybe D+.

3. Work to incorporate the innovations of the past decade into the core engine of the game, allowing the best rules elements and discoveries we've made to have an integrated home in the new system (even if they aren't present in the initial book).

Again, this design goal betrays a rather laser-like focus on PF1E. I am not sure how you can say you are incorporating innovations of the past decade into your design when one of the most important, Arcanist-like spell selection, _that was used by your main competitor_, is not in the Playtest.

Now, your action economy, yes, that's not bad. You seem to have _stopped_ with saying '3 actions and a reaction', rather like '40 acres and a mule'. There's very little evolution of this concept, and it comes with a bewildering array of 'action taxes' like shifting grip, etc., and it doesn't seem to combat the whole 'sitting still and Striking' issue.

Overall, a C here, because I may give you the benefit of the doubt regarding ignoring other systems here, but your dev team is not the only innovative force in the RPG scene currently, and it seems odd that you act this way.

4. Forge a more balanced play environment where every character has a chance to contribute to the adventure in a meaningful way by allowing characters to thrive in their defined role. Encourage characters to play to their strengths, while working with others to bolster their place in the group.

As others have pointed out, this design goal talks out of both sides of its mouth so much it is not very actionable. My group _stopped playtesting_ because they did not feel like they were thriving 'in their defined role'. Do you know what system is much better for this? PF1E. You've taken a massive step back towards achieving your first sentence. If you want to balance the play environment by giving everyone a niche and letting them thrive in their niche, you would offer ridiculous specialization in those niches, and people would thrive in that niche to the exact amount that they specialized in them. I'm talking the +20 Diplomacy character at level 3 or so.

The entire Playtest/2E system seems bent towards smashing everyone down to the same level. Everyone is more or less self-sufficient now, so specialization is rewarded less.

Something that is NOT helping your playtest is that you just released Pathfinder: Kingmaker as a computer game, and (naturally) it uses the PF1E ruleset. In THAT game, I can specialize my party so that one person is good at one thing, and another person is good at another thing. I _could not imagine_ playing this game under your Playtest rules.

To give you an idea of how I responded to the wording/apparent intent of this design goal, read Umbridge's opening address near the beginning of the 5th Harry Potter novel. That is how odd this comes across.

In any event, this gets an F-.

5. Make Pathfinder a game that's open and welcoming to all, no matter their background or experience.

I find this a laudable goal. But I don't understand how this is a DESIGN goal. What parts of your design--aside from providing meaningless rules to GMs about how their groups should work, socially--does this reference?

Stepping aside social concerns and focusing on design criteria, though...

As a veteran player and GM, I do not feel PF2E is very open or welcoming. I am given rules (like Shifting Grip) along with an action economy that I can only assume is balanced with those rules--and thus could be unbalanced without them--requiring me to keep track and/or feel like I'm penalizing my players for things I don't consider important.

And I am sure that the dev response is, 'Then don't use that rule.' In that case, why am I using the ruleset? It doesn't seem for me if I look at half the fiddly bits of the system and question their inclusion.

Players in my group which had not played PF before--and hadn't really played D&D3.X in any form--went through character creation and were openly asking why we simply couldn't play 5Ed instead before they had finished their character.

I don't see how you're doing too well, here.

So yeah, I dunno. It just feels too off.

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I have filled out all of the surveys, even though my group has stopped the playtest due to lack of interest, and the chances of playing PF2E when it launches is basically nil.

I will say, though, from someone with a background in how to write (and analyze) survey questions, the devs need to seriously work on writing their survey questions. Without imputing nefarious intent, it is very clear (to me, at least) the expected response to most of these questions, and I would guess that the survey results are biased because of this.

Again, I am not imputing blame here, and I doubt the devs are even aware of the bias in their questions and selected answers.

Should the designers wish to discuss this, I am easily reachable here.

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Frankly, 'being heroes' is not something I've felt watching the group of people I'm gaming with so far.

Barring, of course, the _ridiculous_ crit streaks of the Druid's Raptor.

I would almost argue, based on my experience, that 'being heroes' is not a high priority for this edition of Pathfinder.

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Ironically, rolling a d4 for success levels, with confirmation rolls needed for crit success/failure, mimics PF2E very very well. With that, you would get

6.25% crit fails
43.75% fails
43.75% successes
6.25% crit successes

I think I would use 2d12 rather than 2d10, mainly so I actually can get 20 different values, a bit more variance, but nothing as bad as a d20. Of course, being a uniform distribution, nothing CAN have more variance than a d20...

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I think the simplest fix is to base the DC on the target, not the user. This can be done one of two ways:

1) Base it on the level of the target. (Average of group if necessary.) This at least means high-level healers can (and do) heal low-level people easily. As they should.

2) Base it on the amount of healing that the healer wants to do. This is very similar to the OP, but removes the guaranteed success. Now it's not _just_ time, but an active tradeoff between guaranteed results and time. This also makes it (effectively) harder to treat low-Con characters as high-Con characters... which makes sense, does it not?

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Yeah, it doesn't scale well... even though 'fixing higher-level play' was supposed to be a design goal, no?

Anyway, the clear change to make is to make the DC based on either the target's level--meaning that a 20th level Healer can easily heal low-level people... as they should--or make the DC appropriate to the amount that you're trying to heal.

Small quibble... given that you're a Fighter, I would expect your stat increases to be, by default, Str/Dex/Con/Wis. Maybe Cha instead of one of the others if for some reason you need more Resonance. But with that Stat increase distribution, you would have an 18 Wis at 15th level if you started with 12, and there would have have the same relative number on the die...

which, _again_, demonstrates the coinflip nature of the rules. Why is a high-level healer no better than a low-level healer _when treating the same person_? The high-level attacker is much better at hitting a low-level defender... why is this not the same?

Paladin is meant to be the 'armor master' class in PF2E.

(Not saying I agree with this or not.)

As a side benefit, it buffs the Sorcerer mildly--who sorely needs it--by giving them a wonderful 2nd-level feat.

Sorcerers in Full Plate... go.

The number of LG-ish Sorcerers is going to inexplicably rise because of this.

Mathmuse wrote:
NemisCassander wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
What do I believe is the number that an optimized character should need to roll (on a d20) to succeed against a level-appropriate challenging skill check? Sometimes 4 and other times 15.
*shrug* If your answer remains 'somewhere between 4 and 15', I feel we are going to have the current system in the final product which I, for one, will never run or play.

That wasn't my answer. I want 4 or 15, not anything inbetween. I want optimized characters to have clear strengths and weaknesses.

I am busy crunching numbers on ways to loosen the tight math while keeping the advantages of the tight math. The underlying math is almost at college level: The Mind-Boggling Math of Exponential Leveling. Figuring out how to tweak the math to alter the effects is more difficult than college-level math. Fortunately, the statements of Jason Bulmahn and Mark Seifter show that they understand it.

Ah, so your answer is 4. Got it.

(Specifically, I am asking for what you think the roll needs to be for an optimized character to succeed at what they optimized, not a general number.)

I agree with you on 'giving characters clear strengths and weaknesses', but it does not appear that PF2E agrees with this. And I have some sympathy; high-level balance gets wacky. However, many examples of this in PF1E--such as the oft-maligned 'high-level saving throw conundrum'--has already been dealt with by nerfing spells into the ground. Basically, anything that was concerning on failing a saving throw in PF1E or 3.5 now needs a crit fail... which means that I could have a +5 difference in my saves without much of an issue. It's a big boggling.

Mathmuse wrote:
NemisCassander wrote:

I think Alaryth has hit upon a very easy way for Paizo to poll their playtesters. Consider the question:

"What do you believe is the number that an optimized character should need to roll (on a d20) to succeed against an equal-level challenge?"

"Similarly, what do you believe is the number that an un-optimized but decently skilled character should need to roll (on a d20) to succeed against the same challenge?"

Or, alternatively,

"What should be the marginal difference in the required roll conferred by optimization?"

Because, right now, Paizo's own answer to the first question seems to be, "9 or 10, depending on the level", and "11 or 12, depending on the level," to the second question.

And I am fairly sure that the marginal difference being seen does not appear to be enough in many players' minds to connote 'optimality'.

Despite my love of numbers, my answer to NemisCassander's question is not a number. A character, even an optimized one, should need more than a single d20 roll to succeed against an equal-level challenge. A single roll is an attack or a skill check, not a challenge.

Suppose a high-skill rogue wants to break into a 3rd-floor room to steal some plot-critical papers. He could sneak past the guards in the corridor and unlock the door. He could climb the outside of the building. He could climb an adjacent building and jump over. I expect several rolls for watching for guards, sneaking past guards, climbing, jumping, and opening locked doors or windows. That is a challenge.

Even in a single round of combat, I want to hear the wizard say, "My vast knowledge tell me that species is immune to my Fireballs. Fortunately, I also prepared Lightning Bolt."

Instead of a character always being 55% successful at everything, I want my character to be good at some things, bad at others, and repeatedly forced to figure out how to use the good thing in a bad situation. When I played a bloodrager who loved to charge into battle swinging her saber, she...

I was more looking for a single instance/roll; e.g., an attack roll.

*shrug* If your answer remains 'somewhere between 4 and 15', I feel we are going to have the current system in the final product which I, for one, will never run or play.

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I have my Likes and Dislikes, but there is a huge caveat--see below.


1) The Action Economy is real. It's very interesting, and can lead to tactics. It is not overly developed, though.

2) Success Tiers are interesting, but again, not really implemented throughout the entire system. Also +-10 seems fairly arbitrary.

3) The Modular Classes is an interesting approach to character differentiation, though I don't think it works quite... again, due to a non-unified design pattern (Totem vs. Order, e.g.).

Hates: (And I use this term advisedly)

1) Spells are utter crap. It's telling when the characters in my group leveled up to level 3 (getting access to 2nd-level spells)... the Druid had a hard time finding two spells he wanted in the entire list. And this is with using 5E (rather than Vancian) spellcasting.

2) Being able to run a game with coinflips rather than dice rolls rather invalidates the rest of the design. I can very easily run an entire campaign and fairly reliably never need stats for monsters. You rolled over an 11? You definitely hit. You rolled under a 9? You missed. In that wiggle-room range? Look at the situation and adjudicate. But I don't understand why we need statblocks for monsters when this is the apparent design goal.

3) Modular Classes are not actually modular, but simply feat trees that offer the Illusion of Choice, but give virtually none.

Now the caveat: ANY of the Hates above is enough for me not to purchase (or run) Pathfinder 2E. That is, I have found 3 utter showstoppers of issues which makes me unwilling to play PF2E.

This is not because of I think PF2E 'sucks' per se, but because the game does not exist in a vacuum, and the marginal effects of playing aren't enough, even if they existed. I own a lot of RPGs. My choice here isn't between PF2E or nothing. It's between PF2E and a lot of other systems, and PF2E isn't holding its own.

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I think Alaryth has hit upon a very easy way for Paizo to poll their playtesters. Consider the question:

"What do you believe is the number that an optimized character should need to roll (on a d20) to succeed against an equal-level challenge?"

"Similarly, what do you believe is the number that an un-optimized but decently skilled character should need to roll (on a d20) to succeed against the same challenge?"

Or, alternatively,

"What should be the marginal difference in the required roll conferred by optimization?"

Because, right now, Paizo's own answer to the first question seems to be, "9 or 10, depending on the level", and "11 or 12, depending on the level," to the second question.

And I am fairly sure that the marginal difference being seen does not appear to be enough in many players' minds to connote 'optimality'.

I fully support this idea.

Each class should have either a class path option granting certain feats, or more feats available.

ALL class feats should get the Druid Order workover. By this I mean any member of a Class should be able to choose any feat of that Class. However, members of that Class with the correct Path for it get something extra. This really makes it more flexible while also rewarding specialization. (E.g., the Druid in my playtest group chose Wild Shape at 2nd level for the flavor.)

IIRC, this is not allowed for many Path-like features currently in the Playtest. As one example, I am pretty sure that you cannot take Totemic feats of another totem as a Barbarian... why not? Why are these on the list if all barbarians can't choose it? This is even more confusing because they already have the Druid 'doing it right'.

So yeah... give us paths.

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Why would you? Seriously?

Rangers have their own class lore that is sufficiently separate from Fighters and Druids to 'be their own class'.

I mean, we could probably reproduce ALL classes using just the main 4 of Fighter, Cleric, Rogue, and Wizard if we had to. There's really no reason that this needs to be done.

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Something that I would like clarified is regarding spells. My understanding is that attacking with a spell (like a touch spell or a ray) requires using Dexterity, not the Caster stat of the item. Is this not true? If it is true, then the likelihood of casters doing stuff offensively just went down.

As for the base '50%' chance to hit, if Paizo were to stay with the coinflip--and I am not necessarily disagreeing with the OP when they say it is better--then they need to simply scrap the Multiple Attack Penalty. 5E works quite well without it, IMO.

If you can flip a coin and reliably reproduce the hit rate of a character rolling a d20... why are you rolling a d20? A d2 works just as well.

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Frankly, I cannot believe that the PF devs are thinking of adding more reserved game terms to their already-unwieldy system to save, what, a little over a hundred lines?

This does not really help matters. I do agree with Mathmuse's points, though, and think that his implementation would help.

For those who don't like 'basic' or 'standard' applying to saves, what about 'Reflex save with standard result levels?

I mean, I don't like this idea, but if you're going to do it, do it right.

Y'know, I really like the idea upthread that a Deity could have Common and Uncommon alignments for Clerics. This would allow for mechanics that would allow you to be an Uncommon alignment as a cleric of that Deity.

Don't change the anathema at all. Just loosen the alignment a bit.

(As a side note, I am all for the idea that each character can, with GM approval, choose a single Uncommon thing--spell, item, choice, etc.--at character creation. This would slot RIGHT into that.)

Also, wouldn't it be interesting if multiclass Clerics would not be required to follow the alignment of the deity as closely? I mean, you're not getting as much power as a full Cleric, so the deity in question might let the alignment thing slide a bit...

Or... even more, to pull off the redemption/corruption thing, make the required alignment contingent on some (high-level spells) but not all (spellcasting in general) aspects of the class.

This would allow, for example, a Fighter/Cleric of Gorum to be CG, but not a Cleric of Gorum, because he's less affiliated with the hierarchy, NOT drawing as much power, and thus can be less focused?

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TTfAW: I brought this up. I would just like guidelines--preferably from Paizo, since it is their material that seems to be contradicting itself--on how to adjust the AP.

I mean, I realize that many people view ethics as subjective, and therefore it is not necessarily right to judge something ten years ago by the now-current definition of 'ethical' in a given system, so I am not holding the content against them, as such. I just feel that if they are going to provide this kind of social contract for their game, their adventures should come with a list of likely-uncomfortable content and ways to modify those adventures so that the content is likely to be comfortable.

I understand that they cannot address each and every concern, but there are likely concerns, certainly, and if the social contract cannot detail the changes necessary to abide by the social contract...

I am just confused.

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That does seem to make sense, TFP. Clearly Paizo should state a general social contract to be enforced at their Organized Play (Pathfinder Society, right?) events, but I mean, what does the statement in the rulebook help to do that GMs don't already make decisions on?

As I seem to say so often in this thread, I'm confused... why is the statement here, and not in the Organized Play materials?

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Something that would be neat for a Familiar trait would be 'extra Resonance'. Something that is fairly thematic, tied to more than just Alchemist, but would give Alchemist a substantial boost.

Something that might work is remove the tie between Resonance and Advanced Alchemy. Give them instead a certain number of points--maybe even equal to their Resonance--to use with Advanced Alchemy every day, but they only need to use their Resonance for Quick Alchemy. That would be perhaps enough...

You know something is wrong when the Alchemist doesn't want magic weapons or armor because he doesn't want to 'waste' the Resonance investing it.

Also, more of a general Resonance comment, but isn't a Wayfinder... kinda worthless without an Aeon stone? I mean, would you spend 2 RP for... Light?

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Castiliano: That makes sense. Reduce everything on monsters by 2, and then tell people, 'for a greater challenge, make all monsters elite'?

Or something like that?

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Castiliano: If the group has a person in heavy armor, then the Goblins should react, no? 'Longshanks coming; only one entrance that's possible... let's ambush 'em!' I mean, that's... not too hard for even Goblins to figure out, no?

Otherwise, your argument is that Goblins should not be run optimally, or even very well. At which point... I'm not sure what to say? You run them 'not very well', and they're not a challenge at all. You run them 'realistically', and you run the risk of a TPK... I don't really get this idea?

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The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:

Okay, imagine this. You've just sat down to play Pathfinder and another player says to the GM, "I'm not comfortable with {insert your race here}, so would you please remove them from the game?" I presume you would be happier if there was something in the rulebook advising that perhaps the GM shouldn't kick you out.

Actually, no? If the GM would be the type of person to grant the request, I am not likely to have fun under that GM anyway, so it's a moot point?

I can see the point of such a rule for Pathfinder Society adventures, where Paizo can be seen as liable if offenses occur... somehow... but at a private game, what would be the point? If someone is uncomfortable with my presence, and is basically saying, 'Either this person goes or I go,' the choice of the GM of who stays is essentially the answer to the question, isn't it? What purpose would the 'rule' serve?

But yeah, I don't see a point in the scenario you describe. Are there other scenarios that you feel warrant such text in the core rulebook, and not, say, in the by-laws / rules for running the Pathfinder Society?

I'm still confused...

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The Sesquipedalian Thaumaturge wrote:
There's a huge difference between not being comfortable with an element of the game and not being comfortable with the very identity of people who could very well be playing it. Are you really arguing that someone who says "I have a phobia of black people, so please don't include them in this game" should be treated the same as someone who says "I would rather not think about sexual assault during something that's supposed to be fun and relaxing, so please don't include that in this game?"

Um, isn't the metric to be used here whether the game is fun for all players? If both of those statements are equal statements of something causing someone to not have fun, should they not be of equal weight?

I'm confused...

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
NemisCassander wrote:
Should I change the module to accomodate these players, and if so, how?

I think you should. I don't remember the specifics of RotRL that well, but generally replacing things in the written material with other things suffices.

Like I've run this game for literal children, and one thing that kids absolutely do not like is "killing animals". So knowing this, if I'm running from a module I'm just going to replace all the "fights with wolves" with fights against something with the same statblock as a wolf but is clearly "wrong" or "supernatural" in some way.

But like if you have a goblin run into a party consisting of a gnome, a grippli, a halfling, and a cecaelia obviously they're not going to call them "longshanks" or at least will drop the term when called on the absurdity of "the only person in the party who is taller than you conspicuously lacks shanks".

But renaming things, changing descriptions, and changing backstories are honestly one of the easiest things in the GM's job description.

Thank you for your response. I do appreciate it.

So... I need to change several aspects of Goblin culture because someone doesn't like a slur that the book itself says Goblins use in-game? Um, what should I change the culture to? Just trashmen? (Serious question!)

There's also the fact that I am not sure that the Goblin player would still play a Goblin if he was not allowed to 'act like a Goblin'. (Note that he is calling the Dwarf, mainly, 'longershanks', because his 'shanks' are longer than his.) So we may need to remake his character to ensure a safe space. Okay. I will discuss this, but this can have mechanical ramifications with the character.

Just never revealing Nualia's backstory is quite likely, but it will make some material--such as Tsuto's diary that describes Nualia's transformation in some detail--unusable. I guess I will have to put in a lot more time into running this, which is unfortunate, as one of the primary reasons I use APs is because I have very little to prepare for games.

I will see about editing the various terms. I think the Goblins lose a lot, and I would suggest Paizo seriously revise the Goblin culture as presented in their material if they truly take their admonition as given.

Mark Seifter wrote:

Not that this is directly related to the main thesis of the thread, but I really like the idea of failing on a Sneak when you were Unseen only making you Sensed (so "Hey, I hear something moving over there! Let's go check it out" and then they roll a Seek) and only a critical fail making you fully Seen. I've added it to my list of cool ideas you guys have on the forums to bring up as possibilities (currently 85 entries long and growing).


Thank you, but the one you should thank--and give credit to--is the person upthread who originally suggested it. I just tried for a codification.

And yes, the _exact_ scenario I was thinking of was the, 'Wait, I thought I heard something... is something out there?'

citricking: Possibly... you are suggesting that the 'Mutagen Alchemist' would get a bonus to ... um, what? Non-Healing Elixirs? ... before level 5? I had assumed that two specializations would be Bombs and Elixirs. Would you include Mutagens in Elixirs? That seems ... overly broad?

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kaisc006 wrote:
Has anyone run numbers on how having modifiers to your attack rolls affects damage? It seems to me that anything giving you a + bonus to attack will be prioritized since it also translates to more damage / protecting against critical failures.

Yes. I have even done a simulation analysis of Fighters vs. Barbarians vs. Rangers.

Suffice to say, a +1 to hit bonus (flat) is worth more than +1 damage PER LEVEL. So, at level 20, a +1 to hit is worth MORE than +20 damage, at least under the conditions of the model.

Do you guys think high level play as a fighter will drop behind casters even more?

No. If anything, the Fighter is king of combat, IMO. (Well, the OpFor is king, but Fighter is Prince.) There are numerous threads about how spells are lagging.

For magic items, will all martials just stack + x weapons rather than elemental/ other effects?

These are completely separate now, as others have noted. I have given the 'accuracy/damage balance' above.

I guess what I’m saying is it’s strange to include beating the AC by 10 as a critical hit or have effects on critical failures of 10 or more. It changes the math significantly to the point where I think you only want to focus on buffing attack where as before there was a point where too much attack was a bad thing. Also, now abilities that subtract from your attack or AC have a much higher “cost” associated with them, squisher classes are exponentially squishier (low hp and low AC plus easier crits against them), etc.

This is by design, but since it is ALSO by design that no character crits except on a 20 without bonuses in 2E, I find it... amusing.

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MaxAstro wrote:

The fact that you are asking something to be "safe-space-proofed" indicates that you most likely don't fully understand what that text block is saying.

It is not saying - nor is anyone ever going to say - that you should make your games completely safe for all possible players.

It is saying that you should strive to make your game safe for your players, whatever that means for you and your group.

Which yes, is common sense.

Sadly, I have personally met plenty of people who don't have any common sense, so I don't blame Paizo for saying it aloud.

Again, I am talking about my group.

I am saying that I have a player that would not consider and adventure with a character with an abusive domestic situation as backstory/starting-point-of-evil (Nualia) being the BBEG of the module as a 'safe space'.

I am saying that I have a player that is uncomfortable that the Goblin in the group calls people, 'Longershanks'. (The entire party are Small, with one Dwarf.)

I am saying that I have a player in my group (the Animal-Order Druid) that almost burst into tears when I read the Blocked text about the dog dropping with a _slit throat_. He doesn't like that the Goblin weapon names are 'Animalnamekillingmotion'. And that is OOC, not just IC.

Should I change the module to accomodate these players, and if so, how?

I am asking because I would genuinely like to know what people think is enough to proof _one of Paizo's own adventures_ for my group.

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Unicore: How do you stop 12 Shortbow Arrows coming from the darkness at your party in A2 if the Goblin Warriors win initiative?

About the only thing the GM can do is either

1) Roll initiative separately for the Goblins so that some party members might go before some of the Goblins, but that's squarely against 'best practices for running lots of mobs'.

2) Make the Goblins attack less... why? And heaven forfend if you have one Goblin go get the others...

I mean, yeah, there are tactics to learn, but the concern about TPKs with large number of level-0 mobs is quite real.

Well, 'alchemical items as treasure' is never something I thought would be useful.

I even discussed your idea, Ediwir, with my brother, and we came to the issue that not all specializations fit at first level. The glaring one is Mutagens... you can't help but trip over their feats once you get to 6th level, so it certainly should be a specialization, but you can't have a specialization that is 'nothing' until 5th level.

You _could_ make a Specialization that is 'Mutagens and Poison', but that's really hackneyed, I think.

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I am very uncomfortable with the topic of this thread. And it's because of Paizo's own works.

I am currently running my role-playing group through Rise of the Runelords because they won't do the playtest if they have to remake characters, I own the AP, and they haven't gone through it.

Paizo's own RotR AP is RIFE with topics that counter this sidebar.

Just in 'Burnt Offerings', I'm pretty sure I have at least one player that would react very negatively to Nualia's backstory, if it ever came out. What should I do about that?

Change her backstory? That can make her seem MUCH worse.
Never let it be revealed? I guess so, but it can hurt immersion. But by Paizo's own guidelines in the 2E playtest, immersion shouldn't come into it.

(This is also ignoring my own issues with 'heavyhanded religion in universe is shown as BBEG and real BBEG is given a motivation against that religion'.)

Also, what about the Goblins? They _explicitly_ use racial slurs (longshanks), and engage in animal cruelty, among other things. And this is portrayed as something funny.

Finally, PTSD is very important. You cannot use the excuse, 'But it's not insulting you! It's insulting your character.' Or the excuse, 'It's not a real-life insult.' People who, as the defenders of this sidebar state, have suffered from discrimination for one or another reason can still be triggered, in an emotionally cruel way, by hearing any discriminatory remark in their vicinity, not just submitted to themselves in a clear real-world way. I myself would react very negatively to hearing about domestic abuse; any space that contains a discussion of that probably wouldn't qualify as a 'safe space' for me.

So, saying all that... can people here explain how you would use the guidelines Paizo has given about 'safe spaces' to 'safe-space-proof' Paizo's own Burnt Offerings module, given the above?

Edit: I would like to point out that things like Exalted's 'Red Rule' (please look it up if you are unaware of it) are quite useful. And note that it is a mechanical rule of the system. I'm just very unsure how to handle the very vague guidelines such as given by Paizo here.

Unicore: If that is the design goal, I would submit that level-0 monsters are still overtuned for level-1 characters.

Any of the 4-6 monster encounters in the first playtest module would have been TPKs against my group if I hadn't fudged rolls left and right.

Bryon: Presumably, because there's nothing lower than L0. 'I want a lot of mobs in a L2 encounter. That means L0.' As opposed to, 'I want a lot of mobs in a L6 encounter. That means L1, 2, 3...'

I don't buy the answer, as it makes things _ridiculous_ IMO. A better rule would be to just artificially increase the attack numbers when it's needed; at higher level encounters, not at level 1.

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This post was inspired from one of Liam's replies in the new feedback thread regarding Alchemists not being able to use their bombs because of splash damage, and it really crystallized my concerns about Alchemists.

I should say that my twin brother plays a Goblin Alchemist in the Playtest group (the Shortshank Redemption) I am running, and he is certainly the player who 'plays the best', from a numbers/tactics perspective. So I say this as someone who has seen, perhaps, a fairly good Alchemist in the game.

Liam's post about splash damage is quite well taken, because the Alchemist doesn't have a single damaging level-1 bomb that doesn't do splash damage. They do have the tanglefoot bag, and I can see possible applications for it, but you certainly do no damage. So, combine this with the archetypal boss fight as an illustrative example. There is one enemy, and very few parties don't have a melee character whose job is to 'tank'.

So what does an Alchemist do once the enemy is in contact with the party? His bombs have to hit TAC, and if he misses, the bombs will do equal damage to the enemy and the party members in contact with it... very few circumstances really make that a good idea.

This leads to the second issue. The Alchemist has no default attack, really. Even their bombs don't use their class stat (Intelligence), but at least it's TAC and almost certainly--because of this very issue--the Alchemist's second-highest stat, Dexterity. This puts Alchemist ranged attacks squarely into suboptimal range, and other posts have shown how suboptimal attack modifiers are very poor in combat.

So when your party is in contact with the enemy and you're an Alchemist, what are you expected to do? Fire a Crossbow at +4 to hit? The action economy is terrible if you then want to use a Bomb (maybe because additional enemies appeared), because a Crossbow, unlike a Bow, uses 2 hands, not 1+. Even if the answer is, 'Crossbow,'... does no one else see the '3E wizard' problem here? Damage cantrips exist, from a design perspective, to solve the problem of low-level casters having nothing they're 'good at' to do too much of the time.

So why hasn't the same solution been applied to the Alchemist?

Even a change as basic as, 'when you create a Bomb with Quick Alchemy or Advanced Alchemy, you can choose to have the Bomb not deal splash damage' _as a level 1 Class feature_ (i.e., not a Feat) could address a lot of this. I would estimate, though, that 80% of Bombs created would not do Splash damage in this case.

An obvious alternative would be to just provide bombs that don't do Splash damage.

However, the above only would 'fix' (and, not optimally so IMO) the 'throwing Bombs into combat' issue of Alchemists. They really need a Cantrip-level effect for QoL improvements.

I would suggest a level-0 version of alchemical bombs, and then just give the Alchemist the ability to _not spend Resonance_ on versions of Bombs that are lower than the highest they can make.

Now, that might help the two most glaring issues that have come up during the game, but there is at least one other issue that just makes me scratch my head. And it's very simple.

The Alchemist will never make alchemical items (with one exception) for his own use during Downtime. The reason is simple. Alchemical items made during Downtime aren't Infused, which means it would cost the Alchemist a Resonance to use them... which means it competes with his own Quick Alchemy feat... and by 'compete' I mean 'completely overshadowed'. I am not sure why _anyone_ thought it was a good idea for the Alchemist to not want to use their signature skill and class feature during the Play Mode most likely to do so.

That exception is Poisons. Apparently, Poisons, unlike other alchemical items, don't need Resonance to use. The Goblin Alchemist is already working on reverse-engineering the Centipede Venom and then mass-producing it during Downtime for his own use and others.

But, um, is my group just missing something, and that the Alchemist should be making more alchemical items during downtime?

Mekkis wrote:
Unicore wrote:
The other thought I have is that it is unfortunate that the gaming convention is that most skills come down to one die roll. Having a 50% chance of success each check means that most skills with no consequence for failure are going to be successfully completed in one round or two. Balancing skills that can be attempted over and over with those with immediate consequence for failure is difficult to do.

I think the underlying issue is the unification of mathematics for skills, attacks, AC, saves and DCs.

In Pathfinder, the ability to increase one's attribute gets progressively harder as you go down the list:

Skills (+1 every level, feats give +3/+6, items give bonuses at 100gp * bonus squared)
Saves (+1/3-2/3 per level, feats give +2, items give bonuses at 1000gp * bonus squared)
AC (feats give +1, items give bonuses at 1000gp * bonus squared, with several different types readily available)
Attacks (+1 every level (but iteratives come in providing -5s), feats give +1, items give bonuses at 2000gp * bonus squared)
Spell DCs (+1 every two levels (but of a very limited resource), feats give +1 (but only to a subset of them), no items exist that can give bonuses, with the exception of ability boosters).

And in Core Pathfinder, nothing* targets anything lower on the list: you never roll a skill check verses an armour class.

And the impact of being Really Good at something at the top of the list doesn't impact the system's mathematics as much. Sure, you might be great at Sleight of Hand, but when the enemy's attacking you, it's not going to come up.

The system doesn't break down because someone has +40 to stealth or perception (and if it does, it's the GM or Adventure Writer's fault).

If skill modifiers can be divorced from the rest of the extremely tight mathematics, it would solve many problems and result is a much better game.

* Barring oddities like Blinding Critical and Coup de Graĉe; Feint can target HD, but normally targets Sense Motive

The issue with all of this is that the unification of rolls, modifiers, etc., is clearly a core design goal of PF2E. The above reads like, 'why can't we just do PF1E?' I'm not saying you're wrong. I frankly think that PF2E is a worse 4E, currently, and while I like 4E, why would I play this when I can play 4E, if I wanted?

Please, yes. The Erratta changing wording is quite unusable. I more or less 'skim' them to get an idea of what is changing, and that is not the best when comprehension is desired.

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